If Religion Can Raise Cash For A Pizza Joint, What Can We Do For Homeless Youth?
April 9, 2015

Got this in my email last night, thought it was something we should support:

Did the ugliness of Memories Pizza story leave a bad taste in your mouth? It was pretty big news when Dana Loesch, right wing radio and Fox News drummed up an army of outraged flying monkeys to lavish hundreds of thousands of dollars on a pizza parlor to reward them for refusing to serve gays. It was also a pretty ugly sight.

If you're a little confused what good is created in the world by tithing to the Church of Memories Pizza, you're not the only one. Brooklynite Scott Wooledge was scratching his head. "I was raised Presbyterian, and the lessons I was taught from Jesus were minister to the sick, feed the hungry, that kind of stuff. I don't really understand how religion moves people to donate money to a pizza joint."

On a lark Wooledge launched, Pizza4Equality.org late Friday night and an accompanying GoFundMe page. The challenge being this: If America can $864,000 for a pizza joint, what can be raised for homeless youth? Selected for the fundraiser was pop icon and social activist Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund. Not a restaurant, True Colors is an authentic 501(c)3 that works on public education, advocacy and systematic reform specifically on the issue on the issue of youth homelessness.

With a boost from early adopters Dan Savage and Ana Marie Cox, by Sunday night he'd collected over $50,000. By Monday night that number had grown to $125,000.

The timing is fortuitous. Lauper recently wrote an op-ed in The Hill aimed at persuading the Senate to reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA), our nation’s only federal law that specifically funds vital services for homeless youth. And Monday night, April 18, PBS will air the documentary The Homestretch, that follows the lives of three homeless teens in Chicago. Organizers in Chicago, The Food System are planning "Hate Free Pizza Parties" as fundraising public education events tied to the documentary. They are also urging others to do the same locally.

The fundraiser will stay open until April 29, which is True Color's designated 40 to None Day, a day to raise awareness of youth homelessness. Whether it ever matches it's inspiration it's certain to have helped more than two people.

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